Journaling is an effective tool for the development of writing skills and creative thinking; however, research has not revealed how it improves writing skills in the college classroom. The majority of the studies related to journaling are elementary school studies, which do not provide statistics on how journaling can improve writing skills for undergraduates. The purpose of this study is to compare the writing skills of students in freshman college composition classes who make journal entries at the beginning of each class, and those who do not. The theoretical base for the study was provided by Thorndike's laws of exercise and effect and Mezirow's transformational learning theory. This is a quantitative, quasi-experimental study, and data were gathered using a pretest-posttest design using a sample of 106 freshman students in a small two-year community college in the Midwest. A rubric was used to score a writing sample from each student at the beginning and end of the semester, and the samples were independently evaluated by three experienced college writing instructors. The significance for the study was measured by using an independent t-test. Results indicated no significant difference between the pretest and posttest writing scores of the students who wrote in journals and those who did not. The study can foster social change by helping teachers to understand the potential benefits of journaling in the development of critical thinking skills. Further study with a larger sample and an advanced writing class would be beneficial in examining whether extensive journaling would result in improved writing skills.
|Advisor:||Wang, Victor X.|
|Commitee:||Klimoski, Victor, McCartan, Laura|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Adult education|
|Keywords:||Incoming freshmen, Journaling, Journals, Writing, Writing skills|
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